Day after day after day. We prayed fervently—and every day the situation remained the same. No ID number for Oleg today, thus no passport today. David and his new son sat in a tiny, sweltering apartment in Kiev, frustrated and upset with the bureaucracy that held them prisoner there. Oleg just wanted to leave and begin his new life with his new family in his new home and his new country. David’s concerns were far greater. Yes, he desperately wanted to get home to the rest of the family. He had been there for two and a half months already and he felt like he was missing out on his children’s lives. Julie had been home with Anastasia for three weeks and was reporting that their new teenage daughter was already blossoming and was a new child from the girl they had adopted in the Ukraine. Benjamin, Joshua and Hannah were missing him terribly and just wanting the whole thing to be over and their family reunited once more.
David’s situation at work was even more crucial, though. A lieutenant colonel in the Air Force, his responsibilities and duties were great. Earlier in the year he had been laid up and on leave for months due to a back injury, surgery and recovery time. He had barely recovered when the time came to go to the Ukraine for the adoptions of Oleg and Ukraine—a process that was supposed to take about five to six weeks. Now here he was—totally out of leave and still “trapped” in a system that seemed to not want to let his boy go. What made things even more complicated and dire was that he was due to be transferred to California in only three weeks. The out-processing for such a transfer normally takes 45 – 50 days to complete. He was down to less than 20 days if he went home immediately. David was very concerned about his career. If he didn’t get out to California on time, there could be dire consequences. Not only that, they still had to get their house on the market, and it wasn’t even ready to be put on the market. Julie and the kids, including the two new children, would have to stay behind until the house sold and try to blend together as a new family without him.
All this weighed heavily on David. They were praying urgently and fervently that God would move the bureaucracy and release them from this situation. Hundreds of others were praying with them. The process was turning into a nightmare and sucking all the joy out of what should have been a wonderful experience for them all.
When the ID number finally came through, there was still no passport. Someone had made a mistake somewhere, and still today that passport is floating around somewhere in limbo. David finally had to take Oleg back to the orphanage until the passport comes through, while he hopped a plane and came home yesterday so that he could be back at work Monday. Julie will fly back as soon as they get word that their lawyer has the passport in hand, and finish the steps that must be taken before Oleg is free to go home to America with his new mama. We all continue to pray that that will happen in the next few days and maybe, just maybe, by next weekend the family will all be together again.
All along we had reaffirmed to one another and in our hearts that God is in control; that He sees the big picture; that His timeline is perfect. We knew that God does not always answer with a yes or no, but sometimes with a “wait.” We knew that we could trust Him completely, and that He has promised to be faithful in completing whatever it is He calls us to do. We knew that He hears our fervent prayers and cares; that we should be still and know that He is God; that we could simply rest and wait on Him. We knew that the delays had a good reason, and might very well be for someone else’s benefit. All these things we knew beyond a shadow of a doubt—and yet that old liar, Satan, tried to tempt us (well, at least me) to doubt.
Deep down in my heart, I felt a little niggling doubt, like a cancerous worm, trying to rear its ugly head. “Is God really hearing you?” it sneered. “Why is He not helping you? Why did He allow it to turn into this terrible mess? If He can move mountains, why can’t He move the bureaucracy in the Ukraine?” Quickly I stomped it down. No, I know God cares and is working for our good. I know that He is trustworthy and faithful and will see David and Julie through this trial for His glory. And I know you, Satan, hate to see the souls and lives of these two beautiful children slipping through your fingers as Julie and David seek to rescue them and lead them to the Lord. God will be glorified and though we may not know all the reasons why, I will trust Him!
David put a devotional on Facebook this week that really hit home for me. It began with the Scripture Mark 9:21-24: “And he [Jesus] asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child. And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do anything, have compassion on us, and help us. Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.”
Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief. God knows our frailties. He knows that we have moments of weakness and discouragement—and even sometimes moments of doubt. I believe He gave us examples in His word of some of the greatest men and women in the Bible who had those times when in their hearts they might have cried out those very words, “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.” Abraham and Sarah, David, Elijah, Peter—these are just a few of the pillars of our faith who at times became so discouraged that they questioned and even doubted how God was working. If people such as these face those moments, we should not be surprised when we do, as well.
The devotional, written by Dr. Paul Chappell, had a paragraph I would like to share. It reads: “Each of us faces difficult circumstances at times in our lives. There may even be days when we see no way out of the problems we face. But when God is involved, nothing is impossible. No obstacle you face challenges His strength and resources; no decision you must make challenges His wisdom and knowledge. If there is a problem, it is not with God’s ability but with our faith.”
Being tempted to doubt is not a sin. Giving into that temptation and allowing it to grow within our hearts, is. Our prayer when faced with such temptation should be, “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.” He has promised in I Corinthians 10:13, There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” God is faithful and he will strengthen our faith when we call out to him with a sincere heart.